Durham council under fire for £175,000 senior management post

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

A COUNCIL has come under fire after it emerged proposals to axe a single senior management post would save £175,000 a year.

Durham County Council, facing nearly £190m of cuts between 2010 and 2017, is set to trim its top team from seven to six, saving £140,000 a year in pay and £35,000 in other costs, including national insurance.

Opposition Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Wilkes said for seven directors to be costing more than £1.3m was an insult to residents, County Hall was “top heavy”, more pruning was possible and it needed to happen sooner rather than later in order to protect frontline services.

Simon Henig, the council’s Labour leader, said he accepted there was a debate to be had about pay, but senior management salaries had been set in 2008 by a committee including Lib Dems.

He added: “We have to remember, amid the huge and unprecedented funding cuts by the Conservatives and Lib Dems, the council is a £1bnplus- a-year organisation.

“It needs some management.

The kinds of proposals by [Communities Secretary] Eric Pickles and Mark Wilkes to slash management are just not tenable.”

Aiming to reduce its management costs by 30 per cent between last year and 2015, the council has so far cut proportionately twice as many senior managers as other posts, saving nearly £500,000 a year.

The latest proposal is to merge the Adults, Well-being and Health (AWH) department with Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) – a move already made by some other councils.

David Williams, corporate director of CYPS, has expressed an interest in early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

The current head of AWH is Rachael Shimmin. Both are paid £140,000 a year.

The shake-up, which also involves moving arts and culture services to the Neighbourhood Services depart- ment, is set to be agreed by a full council meeting next Wednesday.

The head of the new “super-department” could be appointed in May. They would then be asked to find further savings by August.

The council’s chief executive, George Garlick, is paid £200,000 a year.

A council spokeswoman said a 2009 reorganisation under which district councils were abolished saved £3.65m in management costs.

Comments (6)

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  • Score: 0

10:55am Wed 14 Mar 12

oldgit57 says...

Typical One of the old boys club wants to go and they can achieve it saving £175K. What are we paying a Chief Exec for if he isn't aware what other councils are doing and can't make a decision like this to save money when they carried out there management restructure a some years ago. If this mate of his hadn't wanted to go presumably he would just axe half a dozen front line jobs.
Typical One of the old boys club wants to go and they can achieve it saving £175K. What are we paying a Chief Exec for if he isn't aware what other councils are doing and can't make a decision like this to save money when they carried out there management restructure a some years ago. If this mate of his hadn't wanted to go presumably he would just axe half a dozen front line jobs. oldgit57
  • Score: 0

11:15am Wed 14 Mar 12

Nicholas_Till says...

“It needs some management..."

Not half.
“It needs some management..." Not half. Nicholas_Till
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Wed 14 Mar 12

fixthecouncil says...

as usual d.c.c. in the dark ages...
they get paid more than the prime minister...he runs a country...they try and run a county council...its a joke...
if they had an ounce of honour in their bodies they would all step down or take a 50% reduction in pay...that will never happen..they are too interested in getting all the free perks that go with the job...jobs for the boys for life as usual...its time for all council meetings to be held in public and not behind closed doors....transparenc
y.please...
as usual d.c.c. in the dark ages... they get paid more than the prime minister...he runs a country...they try and run a county council...its a joke... if they had an ounce of honour in their bodies they would all step down or take a 50% reduction in pay...that will never happen..they are too interested in getting all the free perks that go with the job...jobs for the boys for life as usual...its time for all council meetings to be held in public and not behind closed doors....transparenc y.please... fixthecouncil
  • Score: 1

5:48pm Wed 14 Mar 12

stevegg says...

This is the sort of overpaid and underworked council jobs which should have been cut from day 1, not becuse they are now getting desperate to find savings. Typical elitist attitude endemic in life, they make the working class suffer whilst protecting their own luxury lifestyles and overpaid jobs. Why cant several councils share the same chief executives instead of having their own individual money draining posts. They would impose these kind of measures on low paid workers without hesitation. The fat cats that run organisations such as this are totally out of touch and try to convince us and themselves that they are actually worth this money and the sad part is we let them get away with it.
This is the sort of overpaid and underworked council jobs which should have been cut from day 1, not becuse they are now getting desperate to find savings. Typical elitist attitude endemic in life, they make the working class suffer whilst protecting their own luxury lifestyles and overpaid jobs. Why cant several councils share the same chief executives instead of having their own individual money draining posts. They would impose these kind of measures on low paid workers without hesitation. The fat cats that run organisations such as this are totally out of touch and try to convince us and themselves that they are actually worth this money and the sad part is we let them get away with it. stevegg
  • Score: 0

6:59pm Wed 14 Mar 12

Steeleye says...

Why do people keep comparing salaries of people to the salary of the Prime Minister? Its an illogical comparison.
Why do people keep comparing salaries of people to the salary of the Prime Minister? Its an illogical comparison. Steeleye
  • Score: 0

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